Cancer is a disease of aging. That means that the longer you live, the greater the chances of developing cancer. One of the most common types is breast cancer. Even though breast cancer is something that impacts countless families every year, Dr. Shamim Patel wants people to know that there is an opportunity to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages. That is where breast cancer screening can be beneficial. What do you need to know about breast cancer screening, and how does it work?
How Is Breast Cancer Screening Done?
Breast cancer screening is typically done using mammograms. According to Dr. Shamim Patel, it is important for women to get a mammogram performed regularly, and the age at which this procedure starts can vary depending on your family history and background. A mammogram is performed with an x-ray that is designed to look at your breast tissue. A mammogram uses an x-ray machine that delivers a lower dose of radiation than is used to look at other parts of the body.
Does a Mammogram Hurt?
No, a mammogram does not hurt. A mammogram machine has two separate plates that will slightly compress the breast tissue when the image is taken. You may feel a bit of pressure, but it should not hurt. A mammogram produces an image of your breast tissue based on differences in density. A trained radiologist will take a look at the mammogram to see if there are any signs or lumps or bumps underneath the surface of the skin that you may not have noticed. That way, if there is an issue with your breast tissue, it can be addressed before it gets worse. A mammogram is critically important for making sure any potential breast cancer is caught as early as possible.
What If Something Abnormal Is Seen on the Scan?
Importantly, if something abnormal is seen on the mammogram, it does not necessarily mean that it is breast cancer. There are plenty of benign lumps and bumps that could be present underneath the breast tissue that are not cancerous. If there is something abnormal that shows up on the scan, it simply means that it needs to be investigated further. Depending on the size and shape of the abnormality on the image, different options are available. Your doctor will discuss them with you on a case-by-case basis.
Make Sure You Get Screened Regularly
Even though getting a mammogram can be nervous for some women, Dr. Shamim Patel wants everyone to know just how important it is. You should listen to your primary care doctor and get your mammogram performed regularly. They have the ability to catch breast cancer before you would otherwise be spotted. That means that it could be possible to treat breast cancer before it spreads to other parts of the body, which can significantly improve your prognosis. Consider talking to your doctor about whether you need to get a mammogram performed in the near future.